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Canadians Pavan and Humana-Paredes claim gold at Porec


POREC, Croatia, July 1, 2017 - After placing second in the first two SWATCH Major Series events in this Croatian seaside resort, Sarah Pavan finally advanced to the top spot on the Porec Major podium here Saturday evening as she and Canadian partner Melissa Humana-Paredes defeated Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic in the gold medal match.


With the North American pair celebrating the 150th anniversary of “Canada Day” Saturday, the sixth-seeded Pavan and Humana-Paredes scored a 2-1 (32-34, 21-12, 15-6) win in 59 minutes over fifth-seeded Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic to share the US$40,000 first-place prize.


Pavan and Humana-Paredes, who are playing their first full-season together on the FIVB World Tour, are now 3-0 against the Czech Republic pair after defeating Hermannova and Slukova earlier this season in Brazil and The Netherlands.  Despite the setback, the Europeans shared $32,000 for placing second.


In previous trips to the Porec Major finale the past two seasons, Pavan and Heather Bansley dropped title matches to teams from Brazil and Germany.  It was Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca climbing past Pavan/Bansley on the 2015 Croatian podium with Germans Chantel Laboureur/Julia Sude preventing a Canadian gold medal win last year.


Canada has now won four gold medals on the international circuit since the formation of the women’s FIVB World Tour in 1992.  Saturday’s title was the first by a Canadian women’s team at a “major” event with the previous three gold medal finishes at three- (2015 China), two- (2017 Australia) and one-star (2017 Australia) events.


To reach the gold medal match, both pairs won Saturday semi-final matches.  Pavan and Humana-Paredes defeated seventh-seeded Barbara Seixas/Fernanda Alves of Brazil 2-0 (21-16, 21-11) in 37 minutes and Hermannova and Slukova posted a 2-1 (22-20, 12-21, 15-10) victory over ninth-seeded Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli of Switzerland.


In the bronze medal match, Betschart and Huberli rebounded with a 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) win in 36 minutes over Fernanda and Barbara.  With the win, the young Swiss shared $20,000 and the Brazilian pair split $16,000.